The racing broadcaster picks out three selections from a weather-affected Saturday, along with his usual selection of riders to watch.
The weather has taken its toll on the major Saturday cards but the All Weather comes to the rescue, with Lingfield’s card relocating to the afternoon and being complemented by Wolverhampton in the evening.
Lingfield’s card is a very competitive one and the races are tricky. There is a high degree of chance involved in the swing into the home straight, and luck in running plays a significant part. I remember chatting with Richard Hughes one day about tactics on the All Weather and there was one thing he mentioned that has always stuck with me. He would always prefer to be a shade further back as it was important to get an uninterrupted run, rather than take a check, which he felt seemed to take longer to recover from than on turf. From further back, the greater view of the field – and a potential clean path through – was an asset unless the race looked likely to be steadily run and the leaders would not come back in time.
This also illustrates the benefit of tactical speed on the All Weather. When the gaps arise or horses finally get out in the clear, the ability to quicken smartly is important. That was the feature of the victory for OH SO GRAND (15:10 Lingfield) last time out over course and distance. She looked as if she had a lot to do turning into the straight, but produced a swift change of gears to win with a bit to spare. She is nicely berthed in Stall 3 and is preferred to the progressive Storymaker, who looks to make it five on the bounce for the in-form George Boughey. The presence of Twirling in the field should ensure the race is not run at a crawl, and hopefully Oh So Grand can make her class tell.
In the evening, a couple at Wolverhampton are worth an interest. NOBLE CAPTAIN SP (20:00 Wolverhampton) has a similar angle to The Tron last week in that he comes into a low-grade race in form and, off the back of that last start win, would not actually be qualified for the race had entries not been before he was reassessed. Last week’s Newcastle win was his first drop into the Classified Stakes level that he is again able to contest here. Even at this low grade, he may well have a class angle.
It may well be that the best is saved until last, courtesy of MONSIEUR FANTAISIE SP (20:30 Wolverhampton), who I called in a race last week at Chelmsford where he did too much in the early stages trying to overcome an outside gate. Drawn right on the outside, Hollie Doyle elected to send her forward but she had to work to get across. This time, he has drawn the polar opposite in Stall 1 and should get a much better trail into the race. He has placed several times for the yard off higher marks than the 50-rated ceiling needed here, and on paper will have few excuses this time.
JOCKEYS FOR COURSES
Four of our five riders were on the mark last week, so here is the list of those going to tracks where they have an excellent record:
Lingfield – David Probert (212/1680 with an Actual/Expected ratio of 1.13)
Wolverhampton – Gina Mangan (16/158, A/E 1.71)
OH SO GRAND SP (Lingfield 15:10)
NOBLE CAPTAIN SP (Wolverhampton 20:00)
MONSIEUR FANTAISIE SP (Wolverhampton 20:30)
COLUMN PERFORMANCE 2024 (A/E Par = 1.00).
Selections: Winners 1, Expected Winners 1.04 A/E 0.96
Jockeys For Courses: Winners 4, Expected 3.22 A/E 1.24
Stable Tracker Horses: Winners 2, Expected 0.95 A/E 2.11
Overall Total: Winners 7, Expected 5.21 A/E 1.34